2023: The Year of the Forgotten Millet

2023: The Year of the Forgotten Millet

2023: The Year of the Forgotten Millet
4 Jul 2023

Learn how to cook this traditional grain in modern ways

First grown 4,000 years ago, millets have been an Indian staple for centuries. But with wheat production increasing after independence, they were limited to villages and eventually got lost in oblivion. With these nutritionally dense seeds regaining popularity, United Nations declared 2023 to be the International Year of Millets.

As the global population grows, resilient crops like millet offer a healthy yet affordable option. Often called the powerhouse of nutrients, its packed with more protein, carbohydrates and calcium than rice, wheat or cereal. Low on the glycemic index, it has a mild impact on blood glucose levels, making it the perfect defense against diabetes. 

The climate-friendly coarse grain consumes almost 70% less water than rice, grows much faster than wheat and needs 40% less energy while processing. It thrives in dry weather and harsh temperatures, making it a common feature in Rajasthan, Karnataka and other arid parts of the country. While rustic meals like ‘ragi muddle’ and ‘jowar roti’ are filling and inexpensive, the light millet porridge called ‘bajra raab’ helps build immunity in winter.

But Chef Aryans take on the traditional millet is something you must try. He adds classic Middle Eastern flavors to ‘Jhangora ki kheer’, a dessert made with barnyard millet from the Kumaon-Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. Packed with fruits, nuts, and saffron, its rich, healthy and delicious. If cooked in clay pots, the kheer gets a slightly-aromatic, earthy flavor too. Millets are not only naturally gluten-free but, high in iron and calcium too! Super rich in fiber, they are the perfect choice for anyone trying to control their sugar or manage insulin resistance,” says Aryan Mathur, Learning Facilitator at École Ducasse ISH Gurugram.

The Recipe for ‘Jhangora ki kheer’


1/4 cup ‘Jhangora' or barnyard millet

1/8 cup condensed milk or 1/4 cup sugar

1-liter full-fat milk

1 tbsp of chopped cashews, almonds and raisins each


1 tsp sumac

1 tsp ‘zaatar’

Pomegranates (to taste)

Nestle coconut milk powder (to taste)


Preparation methods

1.     Dry roast the millets in a pan till they puff up and crisp.

2.     Bring the milk to a boil, and add 2 tbsp of sugar to prevent it from burning.

3.     When the milk starts to boil, add saffron and reduce the flame to medium. Let it cook until the milk reduces to half its original volume. Now, add ‘Jhangora’ and thoroughly stir to avoid lumps.

4.     Once the millets look cooked, add condensed milk, coconut milk powder, zaatar, and sumac and mix well. Add chopped nuts and raisins.

5.     Let this sit on the stove for another 8 to 10 minutes and serve warm or chilled.

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